14 Christopher Hitchens Quotes to Remember Him By

christopher hitchensChristopher Hitchens, celebrated writer for Vanity Fair and outspoken atheist, died yesterday of complications from esophageal cancer. Hitchens was known for courting controversy, from his surprising support for the war in Iraq to his biting criticism of religion. He angered both liberals and conservatives. Whether you found him infuriating or enlightening, he was a powerful writer with strong convictions. Here are some of his most provocative quotes.


[Mother Theresa] was a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud, and a church that officially protects those who violate the innocent has given us another clear sign of where it truly stands on moral and ethical questions. (Slate, 2003)

For a lot of people, their first love is what they'll always remember. For me it's always been the first hate, and I think that hatred, though it provides often rather junky energy, is a terrific way of getting you out of bed in the morning and keeping you going. (Booknotes, 1993)

A good liar must have a good memory. Kissinger is a stupendous liar with a remarkable memory. (The Trial of Henry Kissinger, 2002)

[George W. Bush] is lucky to be governor of Texas. He is unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently quite proud of all these things. (Hardball with Chris Matthews, 2000)

Terrorism is the tactic of demanding the impossible, and demanding it at gunpoint. (Slate, 2002)

The only real radicalism in our time will come as it always has — from people who insist on thinking for themselves and who reject party-mindedness. (History News Network, 2003)

I became a journalist because I did not want to rely on newspapers for information. (Love, Poverty, and War, 2004)

If religious instruction were not allowed until the child had attained the age of reason, we would be living in a quite different world. (from his book, God Is Not Great)

Millions of people would have mindlessly starved to death if [Gandhi's] advice had been followed. (God Is Not Great)

Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it. (God Is not Great)

Atheists have always argued that this world is all that we have, and that our duty is to one another to make the very most and best of it. (The Portable Atheist)

Will an Iraq war make our Al Qaeda problem worse? Not likely. (Monthly Review, 2005)

So far, I have decided to take whatever my disease can throw at me, and to stay combative even while taking the measure of my inevitable decline. I repeat, this is no more than what a healthy person has to do in slower motion. (January 2012 Vanity Fair)

We have the same job we always had: to say that there are no final solutions; there is no absolute truth; there is no supreme leader; there is no totalitarian solution that says if you would just give up your freedom of inquiry, if you would just give up, if you would simply abandon your critical faculties, the world of idiotic bliss can be yours. (October 2011 speech at the annual Atheist Alliance of America convention in Houston, as he accepted the Freethinker of the Year Award)

How will you remember Christopher Hitchens? What do you agree or disagree with him most?


Image via Amanda Edwards/Getty

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